Google (per)plex, continued

Nick Gillespie interviews me for the Reason podcast on the Google/James Damore story. I get to make a point there wasn’t space for in my USA Today piece: the indirect government pressure on employers to police speech to avoid litigation mirrors the pressure put on classroom content at universities under Title IX and similar laws.

I also appeared on Guy Gordon’s radio show on Detroit’s WJR, and wrote a piece for Cato at Liberty on a dispute between Google and the federal government on employment discrimination and employee privacy that would probably be getting more attention if the memo story weren’t consuming all the oxygen in the room.

Meanwhile, Conor Friedersdorf asks Google CEO Sundar Pichai: could you clarify which passages of the memo tripped the wire, and which were OK? [earlier] And a piece by Nick Wingfield in the New York Times recalls part of the backdrop to the memo dispute: years of callout campaigning in tech to force political dissenters off of boards and out of jobs.


  • Your point at the end is what puzzles me the most. The most dangerous, disruptive people at Google are the women who took an internal discussion and leaked it to the outside world. If it weren’t for them, Google HR could simply have removed the memo, told Mr. Damore they appreciate his concern, but feel it is off-topic, and it would have been over.

    I think the Brooks’ piece in the Times is right. Google needs a new CEO. The company is full of women and people who identify as women who are ticking timebombs, ready to explode about anything they don’t like. It is these leakers who should have been fired.

    • Why do you conclude women were the leakers?

      • Because women. Do you know one?

        • Be part of the solution, not part of the problem.

  • The response by the diversity director was clear. She was going to find out who wrote the memo, and she was going to fix him. Which she did.

  • Damore was fired for discussing a bona-fide workplace (labor) issue, whether he and others would face sexual discrimination in continuing employment and promotion. It would be a propitious occasion for fellow Google workers to develop the labor theme further by engaging in decentralized “lone wolf” wildcat strikes (aka “sabotage”). Let Google’s software start malfunctioning, not enough to threaten life, but enough to embarrass management and dissipate profits. The strike wave could be expected to end when Damore is rehired, signaling Google’s implicit acceptance of an ideologically diverse workplace.

    Under current NLRB doctrine, concerted labor actions do not require formal unions with formal strike votes.